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NC’s Disney princess

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Hewitt celebrates her own achievements along with those of other youth battling Apraxia.

Hewitt celebrates her own achievements along with those of other youth battling Apraxia.

Courtesy of Brianna Hewitt

Courtesy of Brianna Hewitt

Hewitt celebrates her own achievements along with those of other youth battling Apraxia.

Lindsey O'Neill, Reporter, Artist/Cartoonist

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Every day, sophomore Brianna Hewitt brightens the hallways of NC with a stunning smile that radiates her uncontainable enthusiasm for life. When asked to describe herself in three adjectives, Hewit used these words: overcomer, hard worker, and charitable. Behind her contagious joyful expression, lays an inspiring story that in no way equates to an easy experience.

Hewitt battles two processing disorders, including Apraxia, that affect her reading and speaking abilities. In her early years, Brianna struggled with pronouncing certain words and when speaking aloud in sentences, the order rarely made sense to those listening. Hewitt spent her childhood practicing and pushing herself to work with her challenges which molded her into the person her peers know today.

In the past, Hewitt felt shameful over her disorders, worrying others view her as inadequate and unequal. These feelings brought Hewitt a great deal of anxiety, especially when she went anywhere without her mother. However, Hewitt’s views concerning how her disabilities shape her have evolved and she no longer considers them a negative attribute.  

“ [Now], I see my disabilities as more of a positive thing because I am allowed to encourage people,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt shares that in recent years she discovered her niche and inspired others with disabilities by embracing all aspects of herself. This past September, Hewitt touched the hearts of those who also have Apraxia through a motivational speech at Acworth’s Walk for Apraxia that shared all of her accomplishments.

“I may have apraxia, but apraxia doesn’t have me,” Hewitt said.

Furthermore, through her involvement with The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA), Hewitt touches the lives of others far beyond the City of Acworth.

“It was really interesting, because one time I was in Disney and it was super crowded and a lady randomly stopped me and said, ‘Hey this is a weird question, but aren’t you that girl from the Apraxia website,’ and that was really cool to me because then we had like a super cool conversation. [We talked about] how her daughter has Apraxia and how I really influenced their lives, so it was cool to see that someone so far away I really had an impact on,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt also involves herself in charity at NC, and cannot wait until next year when she will assume the presidency of the NC Heart to Heart club.

Aside from community involvement, Hewitt devotes countless hours towards her academics. Hewitt’s fellow peers seek her out for help when they do not understand classroom content, reflecting their admiration and awe of her hard work.

“I am happy when people ask for help or for questions, because they trust me… but at the same time it’s scary because I don’t want to give them the wrong answers,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt worries her quietness while in class might make her seem snobby towards her classmates; she focuses on absorbing information even when she sits in class surrounded by a plethora of close friends. However, Hewitt’s classmates and friends consider her one of the kindest people they know.

“What makes [Brianna] special is just how she is always there and someone you can rely on, and very dependable,” sophomore Joanna Shephard said.

Hewitt enjoys traveling with her family when their busy schedule allows. They love visiting Disney, or “The Happiest Place On Earth.” During her Disney visits, Hewitt bonds with friends and devours the unbelievably tasty cuisine. The Hewitt family can truly escape the stress of work and school while immersing themselves in the fun festivities Disney offers. A weekend getaway to Disney provides Brianna with a taste of living in a fantasy world surrounded by princesses.

“Ever since I was a young girl, I have wanted to be a princess,” Hewitt said.

Over February break Hewitt and close friend Joanna Shepperd visited New York for a showing of their all time favorite musical, Hamilton. Hewitt’s love for travelling played a huge role in Hewitt’s selection of the NC magnet program; she experienced her first time traveling internationally through NC’s magnet program this past summer when students traveled to Greece, Italy, and Germany.

Hewitt holds high ambitions for the future; however, like most other sixteen year old’s, the concept of the future seems very distant and blurred to Hewit. At the moment, the two main colleges Hewitt wishes to attend include, Yale and Georgetown, but in the meantime she shares her awareness of the importance of broadening one’s own horizons.

Hewitt plans to study performing and acting. She takes part in the drama pathway at NC and shares that while she appears uber shy in school, she enjoys performing on stage. This year, Hewitt hopes her acting and modeling career can become more of a reality by working with more agencies. As a backup, Hewitt plans on living in Europe in her later years (preferably London), where she can pursue an international business career.

Courtesy of Brianna Hewitt
Hewitt radiates happiness when crowned Miss North Georgia.

“I try to focus one day at a time. Right now I am focusing on my new flower crown fundraiser for the Apraxia Association, upcoming pageants, and I have a surgery in May, so I try to take it just one day at a time to see how one day could potentially shape my future as well,” Hewitt said.

Amidst all of her accomplishments and aspirations, Brianna Hewitt maintains a level-head and healthy outlook on her life. Hewitt accredits her supportive parents for her sanity. As an only child, Brianna receives undivided attention and support from her family, which she believes benefits her greatly.   

“I used to be really ashamed of [my two processing disorders], and I really tried to keep it ‘hush, hush’, because I was always afraid people would think I was stupid if they knew about them, and just that it really defined who I am,” Hewitt said. “But a few years ago when I started doing pageants and when I came into the magnet program as well, I really found that those things don’t define me but actually make me who I am and so I embrace them. My message is to anyone who feels that they have negative attributes about them, it’s what makes you special, allows you to inspire people, and make a difference in the world, so don’t be ashamed of who you are.”

 

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The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.
NC’s Disney princess